One of the most popular music festivals in the world, also known as Coachella, happened last month in April 2019. Coachella is short for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is also called the Coachella Festival. While some people may have recently heard about Coachella for the first time, the popular music festival actually first began in 1999. The annual music and arts festival is located every year in Indio, California at the Empire Polo Club. The music genres that are performed at this event usually consists of rock, pop, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music. There have been many famous artists who have performed at Coachella such as Beyonce, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Madonna. These four artists have also been spotted wearing gold grillz at many events. Since Coachella is a music and arts festival, there are also visuals of art installations and sculptures at this event by varying artists and sculptors. Over the years, Coachella has expanded due to popular demand and the layout of the main stage setup consists of the Coachella stage, Outdoor Theatre, Gobi Tent, Mojave Tent, Sahara Tent, Yuma stage, and the Sonora stage. Coachella was first founded in 1999 by Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen and was organized by Goldenvoice, which is a subsidiary of AEG Live. Due to Coachella’s major success, AEG Live later developed two more music festivals at the same Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. These two music festivals are the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, which was established in 2007, and the Desert Trip, which was established in 2016 as a classic rock-oriented festival.
The history of Coachella first began in 1993 when the Pearl Jam concert had to relocate to the Empire Polo Club because of boycotted venues in Los Angeles when a dispute with Ticketmaster company broke out. The parent company Goldenvoice struggled financially because there was an increase in larger company competitors in the area, the Paul Tollett first pitched the idea of having a music festival at the Empire Polo Club. The first music festival to take place at the Empire Polo Club was in 1997 at the Glastonbury Festival. Since Goldenvoice was already financially unstable, Tollett realized that it would be difficult to acquire top chart artists to perform at the festival, so he reached out to a group of less trendy artists that would still attract people to spectate. After two years of actively promoting and pitching their festival idea and gathering funds, Coachella first launched on October 9-10, 1999. The site was validated to host large events and that led to the inaugural Coachella Festival being held for the course of two days in 1999.
The 1999 Coachella had lead headliners: Beck, Tool, and Rage Against the Machine. Tickets were first sold for $50 per day and 37,000 people attended. Since it was the first time the event occured, there was free parking and free water bottles upon entry since the event took place in over 100 degrees heat. Due to heavy promoting and not enough tickets sold, Goldenvoice initially lost $850,000, but this was to be expected. However, there was no 2000 Coachella because of the oversaturation of music festivals in Southern California.
Coachella made another festival in 2001 as a single-day event, due to the unavailable acquiring of talent. The only headliner for the 2001 festival was Jane’s Addiction. Ticket prices were raised to $65 and 35,000 tickets were sold. Due to financial instability, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) acquired Goldenvoice in March 2001 for $7 million, but Paul Tollett still had full control over Coachella after the acquisition. Once again, Coachella experienced a loss of a low six figure sum amount.
In 2002, Coachella was made into a two-day event with headliners Bjork and Oasis. Coachella reached out to local artists as well and Queens of the Stone Age became the first local band to perform at Coachella. Over 55,000 tickets were sold and for the first time, the festival nearly broke out even. In 2003, the show headliners were the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tickets increased to $75 per day or $140 for two days with 60,000 attendees. This was the first year that spectators were first allowed to camp on site. Coachella finally began to develop worldwide interest while it became nationally known throughout the country. In 2004, the headliners were Radiohead and The Cure. This was the first year that Coachella sold out on tickets and sold 110,000 tickets. This was also the first time that Coachella had attendees from all 50 states in the U.S. During this year, AEG also purchased half of Coachella from Tollett. In 2005, the headliners were Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails with over 100,000 people attending. In 2006, the headliners were Depeche Mode and Tool. Madonna and Daft Punk also made smaller performances. In 2006, 120,000 people attended and the festival grossed $9 million.
In 2007, Coachella turned into a three-day event. The headliners included: Bjork, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Rage Against the Machine. There were 187,000 attendees, and the festival grossed $16.3 million. In 2008, the show headliners were Prince, Roger Waters, and Jack Johnson. This was the first year that Coachella did not sell out since 2003 while still having 152,000 people attend. The festival grossed $13.8 million but ended up losing money due to the high booking fees of Prince. In 2009, the headliners included: Paul McCartney, The Killers, and The Cure. There was a total of over 150,000 people, and the festival grossed $15.3 million. In 2010, the headliners included: Jay-Z, Muse, and Gorillaz. Jay-Z is known as one of the Hollywood artists to wear bedazzling gold teeth. There were 225,000 people at the event, with the event grossing $21.7 million. However, due to the eruption of the volcano in Iceland, some of the supporting acts were cancelled since people could not fly out from Iceland. In 2011, the headliners consisted of Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West/ The Strokes. The festival consisted of 225,000 people while grossing $24.9 million. Because overcrowding started to become an issue, Goldenvoice made several investments and improvements to help this problem.
In 2012, Coachella became a two-weekend event. The 2012 headliners included The Black Keys, Radiohead, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg. This was a special year because a tribute was made with a system that projected a hologram of the famous deceased Tupac Shakur. Over 158,000 tickets were sold, grossing $47.3 million. In 2013, the show headliners were The Stone Roses/Blur, Phoenix, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The city of Indio and Goldenvoice came to an agreement to keep the Coachella Festivals at that location until 2030. Goldenvoice also purchased an additional 280 acres of land surrounding the Empire Polo Club for $30 million to help with the overcrowding problem and provide more space and parking. Tickets were sold at $349 per day with 180,000 tickets sold. The festival grossed $67.2 million. In 2014, the headliners were the Outkast, Muse, and Arcade Fire. The General Admission tickets sold out in less than 20 minutes of when the tickets first went on sale, and the
VIP tickets, which cost over $5,000, sold out in less than three hours. During this year, 579,000 people attended, while grossing $78.3 million. This was the 4th consecutive year that Coachella was named the Top Festival at the Billboard Touring Awards.
In 2015, the festival headliners were AC/DC, Jack White, and Drake. For the second year in a row, the General Admission tickets sold out in less than 20 minutes again. During this event, 198,000 people attended, which grossed $84.2 million. Coachella 2015 was given the Major Music Festival of the Year award from Pollstar. In 2016, the headliners were LCD Soundsystem, Guns N’ Roses, and Calvin Harris. Goldenvoice increased an additional 50 acres in venue size, and the Indio City Council raised the attendance cap from 99,000 to 126,000 people. There was a total of 198,000 people, which grossed $94.2 million.
In 2017, Coachella changed to a three-weekend event. The 2017 headliners included Radiohead, Lady Gaga, and Kendrick Lamar. There were 250,000 total attendees, which grossed $114.6 million. In 2018, the headliners consisted of The Weeknd, Beyonce, and Eminem. Beyonce, a fellow grillz wearer, was supposed to perform in the 2017 event, but she had to withdraw because she was pregnant and decided to perform in 2018 instead. During Beyonce’s performance, she paid tribute to the culture of historically black colleges and universities and support black feminism. In 2019, the headliners included Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande. This past year, Coachella celebrated its 20th anniversary of the music and arts festival.
During the past recent years, Coachella staged new records for festival attendance and gross revenues. Each year, more and more people want to attend this infamous event, while tickets are very difficult to acquire. Coachella is a music festival that does not discriminate the popularity of the artist. Coachella has showcased popular and established musical artists and groups, emerging artists, and reunited groups. Due to Coachella’s long time efforts of establishing a successful music and arts festival, it is now known as one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the world.